01 November 2007

My Wife

Where should I begin, when talking about a person that has become my whole reason for living? A person that has become so important to me, that I sometimes do not know where I end and she begins?

Perhaps I should begin almost a decade ago. Well, I guess not quite. Closer to eight years ago.

I hadn't been putting forth the effort required for college, and decided that perhaps I should focus on getting out of debt. By that, I really mean that I just wanted to have fun. I didn't want to go to class, I just wanted to hang with my friends, drink coffee and smoke cigarettes all night long.

I spent entirely too much time doing that, so much so that my friends and I could run the local Steak n Shake. Seriously. Enough of us worked there, and those that didn't were allowed into the back room anyway. We would always get our own drinks and malts. Sometimes, we even rang up the normal customers. It was almost like a mafia. But without the whole kneecapping thing, and the racketeering.

I was living free and easy, not caring about tomorrow, or even later today. I still lived at home, so I had all sorts of disposable income. I mostly spent it on smokes and food. And tuition for classes that I tried to concentrate on.

One of the people who hung out at Steak n Shake was this girl who talked to me sometimes. She thought I was cute, but also thought that I was a player, and wasn't interested in me.

But one night, she sat and talked to me. She told me that she wasn't going to be all crazy over me like all the other girls were. She made it clear that I wasn't all that. I told her she was right.

We talked some more. We mostly talked about the relationships we had both gotten out of recently. Her boyfriend of a long time was waffling back and forth, would say he wanted her, then decide that he wanted another girl, and then he cheated on her, then wanted her back, it was really dumb. I had just had my heart torn all to pieces by a little pixie punk rocker from Wisconsin, so we had something in common. We would sit and smoke and talk about how we didn't want a relationship, and somehow, we fell into one.

I remember our first kiss. It was outside at Steak n Shake, appropriately enough, and she was leaving for the night. I figured I would too, so I walked her to her car. She said goodnight, and just that quick, kissed me on the lips. I didn't have time to react, so I just said something stupid like, "Oh...okay goodnight..".

Shan doesn't think this was our first kiss. She doesn't count it, because it was just a peck. Which it was, honestly. But I was hooked. According to her, our first kiss was after that, at her apartment.

Somehow or other, we continued in the relationship that was not a relationship, except to everyone else. She told me that she didn't want to date me, but she didn't want me to date anyone else either. That sounded about right to me too, so I said okay.

I knew something changed when I went away for spring break. I called her from Florida, and she told me she loved me. I said I loved her back.

One night, we were driving to East Town to catch a concert by a Calvin Band that my friend Chris liked. On the way there, there was an accident. A van went off the road and rolled over a bunch of times. So I stopped to help.

Shan watched me run down the shoulder of the highway, combat boots wrecking my feet, and wallet chains swinging all over the place, and decided that any person who would run towards a wrecked car spilling gas all over the place was a person that she should not let go.

One year, during the fireworks downtown on the Fourth of July, Shannon told me that she was going to ask me to marry her. She said it loud enough that people around us heard, and they waited for me to say something. I laughed and said something stupid again, probably about how I couldn't believe those people thought we were serious. I thought she was joking, and she thought she was joking.

The next year at Fourth of July, we were again downtown watching the fireworks. As they ended, I got down on my knees and asked Shannon to be my bride. I was serious. I didn't have a ring though, and Shannon thought I was joking. She told me to get up. I said I was serious. Then my friend told her I was serious.

She then pulled me into her arms, and said, "When I get a ring, you'll get your answer." But the way she said it was nice. She was saying yes, and I knew it.

She picked out her ring that fall, and I got my official answer. We started making wedding plans.

On November 1, 2002, we got married. It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was shining, there were a few colorful leaves still on the trees. The church was beautiful, the same church that my parents got married at, the church my grand parents had been attending since who knows when. It was almost like we were supposed to get married there.

Since then, the past five years have been wonderful. The girl that didn't want to date me now sleeps next to me every night. When we talk now, we look back on the time when we were dating, and we cannot believe so much time has gone by. We have done much together. We quite honestly, do almost everything together. I like to joke sometimes that it seems like we've been married forever. But what I mean is that it is hard sometimes to imagine a time that I was without her.

We have experienced quite a bit in our life together. There have been ups and downs. Two major surgeries, the trials of trying to start a family. Buying a house and making it our home. Discovering church, and what it means to let God in to your life. Discovering what exactly we have left when we are at the end of our rope. Now, as we begin our second five years together, we are about to embark on the lifelong journey of parenthood. I can think of no-one better to share that with than my wife.

Sometimes, I let my regrets get to me. I wish I would have done this or that, or wished that this situation would have come out different. Shannon is the first one to tell me that it doesn't matter what happened in the past. She constantly reminds me that we are always able to look forward with hope. She reminds me that I have the world. No matter what happens, I know that she will be there, telling me that I shouldn't worry so much about life. We are together, and we are closer every day. I cannot express the joy that fills me when I realize that my wife will always be there for me.

Every day, she allows me to be more myself than I ever have been. Last year, on our anniversary, I posted some song lyrics that were profound and meaningful to me. They still are.

The chorus of that song has a line in it where the singer says his woman is the other half of his soul. I feel like that is true. My wife allows me to be more fully the person God has made me. I would not be the person I am today if not for my wife. As I said in the beginning, I do not sometimes know just where I end and she begins.

I love you Shannon.

I can't wait for the next five years.


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